Jandek on Corwood

Released 2008


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Movie Summary

"The longest-running, weirdest, loneliest enigma in popular music is a guy from Texas who calls himself Jandek." So begins a 1997 Boston Phoenix article by Douglas Wolk. From the bluesy, atonal music and haunting lyrics, to the artist's steadfast seclusion and sheer longevity, everything about this man intrigues. 25 years, 34 albums, and not a single live show or public appearance. Even the man's real name is a mystery. Jandek on Corwood is the documentary that explores this man, his world and his music. Jandek released his first album, Ready for the House, in 1978 on his own record label, Corwood Industries (he is, of course, the only artist on this label). The release went relatively overlooked until a review by Phil Milstein appeared in Op magazine in 1980. Bolstered by that slight measure of notice, Jandek set about releasing at least one album a year over the next quarter century of his unique brand of cacophonous rock and suicide-note blues. Slowly, word of Jandek spread through college radio stations and obscure fanzines. In 1985, writer John Trubee was approached by the editor of Spin to submit an article about the artist of his choice. This article spawned the only interview with the man behind the Jandek music and the Corwood Industries record label in which he speaks about the project. All subsequent attempts to glean any information on the subject have been declined. Jandek's music is difficult to describe. "I usually tell people that it's someone who has a completely untuned guitar and is just sort of meandering and yelling over it," says Angela Sawyer of Twisted Village Records in Massachusetts. Reviewers have an equally troubling time describing what a Jandek song sounds like. Certain words stick out in the multitude of reviews and articles that have appeared, like "spooky," "honest," and "wispy." Yet none can really capture the distinctiveness of Jandek's sound. More attractive than the unique music imoreless

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    The New York Times

    A canny look at both sides of a musical experiment. Jandek plucks out his atonal efforts, and the record-store obsessives speculate about every subtlety.

  • 63

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jennie Punter

    A revealing portrait of outsider music nerds.

  • 60

    Film Threat

    The mystery behind Jandek is still intact at the end of the eighty-eight minute-long film, but it's diminished substantially because you feel like you know too much.

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